This face has become recognizable throughout the world over the past 4 or 5 years. If you love movies and television – and the interesting projects that this terrific, versatile actress has performed in – you’ll understand why.
Although she’s been an actress and acting teacher most of her adult life, KATHY LAMKIN “broke out” of her safe, Houston, Texas, surroundings only as recently as 2002 when she made the move to Hollywood. Since her arrival – encouraged by casting director and friend, Terry Berland, and agent, Kristene Wallis (who immediately saw immense potential in this “unknown face”) – Kathy quickly grew into a valued member of the Hollywood acting community. Just a few of the very prestigious projects in which she’s made memorable appearances: “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” as the Tea Lady (“Oh, my, my, my, my, my!”) and its prequel; “Astronaut Farmer”, with Billy Bob Thornton; “Malcolm In The Middle”; “Medium”; “Boston Legal”; “Nip/Tuck” (in a 200 pound fat suit, as the unforgettable Mama Boone); “In The Valley of Elah”; and of course, her SAG Award-winning performance in “No Country For Old Men”, opposite Javier Bardem.
We asked Kathy to share some insights about how she managed to make the move here so smoothly and what has made her a director’s favorite. She is living proof that age is not a barrier to beginning a career in Hollywood, provided you have the right background and “do your homework”. Following are some random thoughts from this lovely lady:
I began to think about how the journey began.
First, I had to learn to believe in myself. To believe in myself and my instincts, and to just learn to say “thank you” when someone complimented me (and NEVER point out what YOU think you might have done wrong). What you did at that moment was perfect for the time.
The ability to cry on cue.
Honor the exact words of the writer because it is your job to bring those words to life.
Pay attention to detail and entertainment law.
For two years, I took a group from my Houston acting school to L.A. to get a feel for lay of the land. I knew it was a different set of rules, and yet some things were the same; I needed to know the twists and turns.
I noticed that actors who went to L.A. usually returned defeated. The large numbers going and coming back so fast was a concern for me. Within a few months, their savings were gone. I knew I wanted enough money in savings that I could live at least a year without worry, because so many had to get paying jobs and could not work on their acting. Many didn’t seem to understand that the game was played differently in L.A.
I thought the talent was just stronger and better in Hollywood, so I started taking workshops with L.A. casting directors and getting feedback. I noticed what they liked and didn’t like in the workshops, and realized that I was as strong, or stronger than anyone in the room. A lack of confidence and an over inflated ego were the two biggest drawbacks in actors. Many actors were allowing themselves to be puppets; they weren’t taking control of their careers or their acting.
In order to have control over your life and career, you must have POSITIVE people around you. Listen to advice and do what is best for you. Small example: For many years, I had the same hairstyle and would not change it. One day, I went to a new stylist and came away with all my hair chopped off. I was ready to cry because I had to stop by an agency for some reason. They saw my hair and LOVED it. I needed to be me, but I had been playing it safe.
What did I learn before I went to Los Angeles? I hold the POWER, and second, I USE COMMON SENSE. Thus, I knew that I was the only key to success, because I had the power to control how I went to L.A. Common sense let me know that where there was a will, there was a way. I sought those who give back through teaching and sharing. I attended workshops out of town (or out of state) to check out instructors and learned from those people.
For more information about Kathy Lamkin and a complete list of credits, follow this link: